These News Anchors Were Hit as Children and Say They Turned Out 'Fine'

Don't tell Sean Hannity that beating kids doesn't work. His father punched him in the face, and now the 52-year-old man is taking his belt off and whipping his own desk on air. See? Fine.

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As America grapples with the thorny issue of corporal punishment and child abuse in light of the Adrian Peterson case, various news anchors have taken to the airwaves to proclaim that they were hit as children and either "deserved it" or turned out "fine."

(For the record, numerous studies have shown corporal punishment doesn't work and may, in fact, lead to a predilection towards violence and lasting psychological harm.)

Here's a quick rundown of three news anchors who say they are a-okay after being hit as children by their parents.

Sean Hannity

The 52-year-old Fox News anchor said a segment this week that he was he was hit by his father "bam, bam, bam," and argued that he "deserved it."

His guests for a segment, columnist Mike Bako, psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig, and Fox legal analyst Mercedes Colwin, all tried in various ways to argue that hitting children is no longer okay, but Hannity wasn't buying it.

At one point, he took off his belt on air, doubled it over, and demonstrated how his father beat him by whipping his belt against the desk.

When Ludwig pointed out there's a "a new parenting consciousness" and that corporal punishment "doesn't work," Hannity shut it down with a dismissive "Oh my God."

Bako brought up that Peterson allegedly shoved leaves in the mouth of his child, to which Hannity responded, "My father punched me in the face when I talked back to him once. And I deserved it."

The one moment of clarity? When Colwin said that, per reports, Peterson punched his 4-year-old son "in the scrotum."

"Yeah, okay," agreed Hannity. "That's bad."

Don Lemon

The CNN anchor boggled nearly everyone, including his guest, when he compared raising a child to training a dog and compared corporal punishment to beatings of slaves by slavemasters (this was, somehow, in defense of corporal punishment).

“For me as an African-American, the question is where did you learn that from? Is that learned from the slave master? Getting the switch? Being beaten?” said Lemon to fellow CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. (Oddly enough, Cuomo himself got into hot water on Twitter for asking if the anti-spanking reaction was "pc to extreme?")

Earlier this week, Lemon said that while he didn't condone Adrian Peterson's actions, he believed parents had the right to hit their children. During his most recent segment, Lemon said his mother would sometimes hit him because he "just wouldn't listen."

Lemon also compared raising children to training a dog.

“Listen, I went to training, I hate to do this, with my dog,” Lemon said, "and fear is the same thing,” Lemon said. “You have to teach who’s in control. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fear or what have you, I’m saying this, because it stops you from doing it.”

(For what it's worth, many dog trainers say that hitting dogs and creating an environment of fear isn't effective.)

John Berman

On Monday, the co-host of CNN's At This Hour said during a segment on the legal limits of corporal punishment that everyone he knew was hit as a child.

"Every human being I've spoken to of our age," said the 42-year-old anchor, "I say, 'Were you spanked as a kid,' everyone says, 'Yes.' It was 100 percent."

His co-host Michaela Pereira jumped in to say "And we turned out fine," to which Berman joked back "Debatable. In my case only."

To be fair,  Berman seems to take the legal issues around child abuse seriously. On Monday (before Peterson was put on paid suspension), he ended the segment with this observation:

We're hearing that Adrian Peterson will be able to participate in practice this week. And he is expected to play next week against the New Orleans Saints. So Adrian Peterson was forced to sit out this weekend, but will play next weekend. The only person you can hit legally in the country right now: your kids."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.